Tag Archives: cruise

Return from Paradise – Part 2

Costa Maya was our first port of call.  Next, Belize.

We dropped anchor at Belize City the next morning and the PA system started announcing departure times for the small boats (tenders) that would take us in to the dockside area.   It was a small adventure, whizzing along in the tender
across 5 miles of water to the Belize City dock.  Again, we were just
intending to stroll around the dock area to see what there was in the way
of shops, etc, but after we arrived we decided to take a van tour around
the city and also see some of the countryside.  And, you know, it was a
lot different from things we see around here, no big surprise – it’s
ANOTHER COUNTRY  🙂  The city was old, had very narrow streets,
and seemed to have way more pelicans than Indiana.  We were driving around
at noontime and our driver pointed out that things may seem a little slow
right now, it’s SIESTA time!  Sounds good to me!  We drove through the
town then out into the country.  The wildlife is pretty much the same as
ours, not counting the howler monkeys, crocodiles (caiman, I think), huge
iguanas.  We liked the tour, gave us a feel for Belize.

When we got back to town we went looking for The Wet Lizard, which was a refreshment emporium that Kate had seen in a travel brochure.  We were kinda thirsty by this time, and were eager to check it out.  Soon, there it was!  We
climbed to the second floor, a location which made the sea breezes even
more pronounced. and gave us a good overlook.  Amazingly, they had NACHOS,
too!  WOW, neat place!  🙂  Actually, we had some kind of chalupa things,
which were also quite good.  And, of course, it’s required that you try
the local brew, Belikan.  One of the locals said it was pronounced
“Belly-a-Kan”, if you happen to be Aztec or whatever.  No, it wasn’t
“Belly-Achin”  – we had no discomfort after imbibing a sample

We were supposed to have a total of 4 ports, as you can see by our
itinerary on the previous post, but we were not able to dock at Roatan,
Honduras, due to high winds in the bay.  As you may remember, Kate was
planning for us to visit an orphanage there, drop off some school
supplies, groceries, etc, but of course that all fell by the wayside.  A
nice lady at the customer desk on the ship took the suitcase from us and
said they would arrange to drop off the donation the following week when
the ship would (hopefully) be able to dock.  So, we had an extra day at
sea to enjoy the shipboard activities.  My favorite activity was to stand
at the railing and gaze at the sea – this was not always consistent with
Kate’s ideas of fun on a cruise ship  🙂  But, we really enjoyed the whole
shipboard thing, no matter what we did.   (psssst, you should GO!)  🙂

Following Belize, and skipping Roatan, our last port of call (Friday, Jan
27th) was the island of Cozumel.  What a nice place!  Yes, it’s VERY
touristy, but we were tourists, so that’s OK.  There were lots of shops to
stroll through, a main street of town within walking distance for further
explorations, so we had a good visit there.  We picked up a couple of
souvenirs, thirsty work, then went in quest of Jimmy Buffet’s
Margaritaville Cozumel.  We went in, found a table, and after a short
discussion with the waiter we wound up with a MOUNTAIN-SIZE plate of, yep,
you guessed it, NACHOS!  Maybe we’re just not adventurous enough on our
food choices, ya think?  A shrimp cocktail, some nice brew, some Mexican
music playing in the background – it was like being on vacation!  🙂  We
didn’t see Jimmy Buffet while we were there, I guess he was washing dishes
or mopping, or something.  The skies opened up while we were enjoying our
little meal, and it was a TORRENTIAL rainfall.  So glad we were inside.

Lots of good memories of Cozumel, and of Margaritaville
So, that was our cruise week in the Western Caribbean.  Great fun!  Who
knows, maybe we’ll do it again sometime.  This is the second time we’ve
taken this exact cruise, and we were not bored at all!  It was like
visiting old friends.
Come with us next time, OK?  🙂

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Return from Paradise – Part 1

We’ve been back a little over a week from our cruise to the Caribbean, but sometime during our drive back from New Orleans I was hit by either a bus or a cold, not sure which.  I’ve really felt bad, didn’t feel like posting, so I wasn’t able to do this while everything was fresh in my mind.  Actually, very little is fresh in my mind, at any time, but here we go  🙂

We got away on Saturday morning (Jan 21st) around noon (had to wait for Kate to get home from her shift at the hospital), and headed south.  The weather was favorable, so we were able to make pretty good time.  We drove as far as Jackson, MS, and found a room for the night.  They gave us a suite for only twice what we’re accustomed to paying – sweet!  🙂  (suite?)

We got to New Orleans with several hour’s cushion but went ahead and got our car parked at the storage place and then were shuttled over to the cruise dock area.  No problems checking in, everything went well.  No delays, no problems.  The ship departed a little ahead of schedule and we were off, down the Mississippi toward the Gulf.  Now, unless you were a geography major (do they actually offer that as a major?), you might think that we’d be pretty close, and it would only take us an hour or two to make it down to the deep water.  Wrong, buffet-breath!  We were on the river a full 6 hours to get to where the pilot boat met us.  One of the other passengers said they were awakened by the comings and goings of the little boat so he knew just when all that took place.  He said they dropped off the pilot and then the small boat headed over toward a cruise ship that was waiting to make the up-river transit.

We sailed all night on Sunday (22nd) and then all day Monday, crossing the Gulf, heading toward the Yucatan peninsula.  We rounded the tip of the peninsula sometime Monday night and docked at Costa Maya on Tuesday morning (24th).

I did get to see one neat thing while we were crossing over to Yucatan – I heard a couple of passengers talking about ‘flying fish’, so I went out to the railing and stood there for awhile, watching the water.  I didn’t know quite how to ‘pre-focus’ for these fish, because I didn’t know if they were the size of water buffaloes or maybe the size of minnows.  Anyway, I was gazing down and saw something that looked like a dragonfly, skimming just above the water.  Then I thought, “Hey, wait a minute!  There are no dragonflies way out here!”  So, I watched for a few seconds and it skimmed along and disappeared into a wave.  I kept watching and soon was amazed to see about a dozen of them take flight at once – a school of fish had become a squadron of fish, flashing silver in the sunlight.  They sailed along, maybe a foot above the water, then all of them disappeared into a wave and disappeared, just as the other had done.  Wow!

On a bar drink list. Norwegian poetry, maybe? 🙂

As we were transiting the Gulf, we mainly just enjoyed the shipboard experience – the warm breezes, getting to meet lots of nice folks, going to the various restaurants for our meals.  There are a few ‘premium’ restaurants where you have to pay a cover charge above what you paid for the ‘all-inclusive’ cruise.  We went to one of those, Teppanyaki, and enjoyed the Benihana-like fun of group dining while an oriental comedian

Chop Looey 🙂

chopped and cooked our meals.  Lotsa fun, but maybe a little pricey.  I took the opportunity to start telling some of my old jokes, and they seemed to be well-received.  I guess these folks didn’t get to hear many jokes back home 🙂

Kate, being beautiful and elegant.

We made it out to the topside hot-tub one time, probably would have done it more, but unfortunately Kate was saddled with a fuddy-duddy on the trip and it was hard to get him to participate.  Dang!

This photo of Kate turned out particularly well, even though I took it with my Android phone in low light.  Yes, she IS pretty!  🙂

So, we docked at Costa Maya next morning and strolled off the ship to see what treasures we might find at the dockside establishments.

We couldn't find our formal wear 🙂

We managed to find  Senor Frog’s Palace of Nourishment and Hydration.  We indulged in some local food – I believe they called the dish NACHOS.  Tasty!  Of course, we had to try the local health drink, Tecate.  Also tasty!  🙂 A traveling artist, I think his name was Renoir, asked if we would care to have a caricature done.  I thought caricature was some kind of acupuncture, but I said, “Sure, why not?”  It might have been the Tecate talking  🙂  We had a BIG time at Senor Frog’s establishment!  Later we strolled around, I bought a hat, Kate shopped, but didn’t buy much.

Well, that’s a WRAP, for now.  I’ll continue my story in the next installment.

Chapeau Nouveau

Renoir (Fernando) creating his masterpiece.

The Norwegian Spirit awaits!

We had such a great time on our cruise this past February (I’m sure you remember all my posts about that), we’re going to do it again – same ship, same cruise, same ports of call!  We’ll drive to New Orleans to arrive in time to board the ship January 22nd.  The ship will sail at 5:00 PM, heading for warmer climes (I’ve included a graphic that shows our itinerary).

We didn’t sign up for a lot of ‘shore excursions’ this time – we’re mostly planning to enjoy the journey itself with possibly some time spent wandering around the tourist areas nearest the docking point.

As you may note on the itinerary, one of our ports-of-call will be Roatan, Honduras.  Kate has done some  research and gathered some information about an orphanage we had heard about on Roatan and we’ll be visiting that facility while we’re there.  We’ll be making some modest donations of clothing and food to try to help out in a small way.  We’ll get a tour and get to meet the children during our visit – should be quite rewarding.  There are State Department traveler advisories about Roatan that tell us not to go off on our own there – robberies not uncommon.  We’ll be escorted during our time there so we shouldn’t have any difficulties.  If I post my obituary here in February you’ll know things didn’t go well  🙂

And, as usual, we’ve notified our nearby neighbors to watch the place, just lettin’ you burglars know to stay away!

So, if you’re desperate to have some more ‘Jim n Kate’ time and want to escape winter’s grip, come join us in New Orleans – we’ll be lookin’ for ya!!

Caribbean Cruise Wrapup

That’s about it for photos, are ya glad to hear it?  🙂  We took lots and lots more, but there’s no way to include them all.  Mainly I wanted to share with everyone the places we went, the people we met, the marvelous ship we were on.  We’re still in a happy daze about the whole thing.  We went, we saw, we were conquered by the beauty of it all.  Truly, we could have walked down the gangplank then straight back onto the ship and done it again without any qualms.

We don’t know what we might do next – the main limiting factor is the number of vacation days that Kate has.  So, we’ll likely be doing some 3-day getaways for the foreseeable future, explore some more of Indiana and Kentucky.  We certainly do want to cruise again, but for now, we’ll just stay kinda local.  We hope you were happy vicariously enjoying our cruise – we loved all of it!

Cruise Photos Day 6 Island of Cozumel

Our last port of call, and it was a fun day.  It was not too demanding, we took a bus to a sort of historical park named Chankanaab, where they had replicas of historical things of interest so you could stroll the shady paths and see the statuary and other historical things all in one place.  After we left there we had a bus tour of some of the perimeter of the island and stopped in a large grass hut kind of place for lunch, then back.  We took a number of pics from the bus windows just to give you an idea of what it might be like if you took a similar cruise and tour.  Hope you like our photos, wish you could have come along!

Here is Cozumel:

Cozumel – beautiful place, great memories!

Cruise Photos Day 4 Belize

Our second port of call, in Belize.  Again, wonderful weather, warm Caribbean breezes – great!  For this stop we signed up for a 2-part shore excursion – a river trip up the Old River, followed by a tour of the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha.  As you’ll see by the photos we stopped at the end of the boat trip and had a noon meal before boarding the bus to head for the ruins.  Great day all ’round, we loved it.  I’m sure it had to do with the time of year, but we were not bothered at all by mosquitoes – perhaps February is the bestest time to tour the jungle, ya think??  🙂

OK, here’s Belize:

I included a few ‘property’ photos along the river, thought son-in-law John would be interested – maybe he’d like to buy one, have a hangout down there as a base for scuba adventures.  We’ll wait for feedback on that  🙂

 

Cruise Photos Day 1 and 2

As promised (threatened?) I’m passing along some photos we took while we were away on our Caribbean Cruise.  Day 1 was New Orleans, we boarded the ship and did some exploring while we waited to depart.  Departure time was 5:00 PM.  Most of these pictures will be to acquaint you with the ship itself – the Norwegian Spirit.  It holds about 2100 passengers, and had enough places to eat, enough things to do, that we never had to stand in any lines and it was just a pleasure to be aboard this beautiful conveyance which was to take us on a magic carpet ride to a Caribbean Paradise.  Between Kate and myself we took around 600 photos, but I won’t bombard you with the whole set (feel better now?)  🙂

Ok, here we go – welcome aboard the Norwegian Spirit!

These pics will give you some idea of what the ship looks like externally and internally, showing some of the dining and common areas.  All the pics are ‘click-able’, of course.

Tell me whatcha think – are you ready to CRUISE???  🙂